Building a PC is more entertaining than you think. However, if you don’t like to research a part’s specs, then you might not find this helpful. This is how you will truly value your PC, this way you will look at your PC and know its worth, instead of looking at a box shape with some lights.
This guide is useful when building from scratch since it will go through all parts one by one in the best possible order to greatly reduce the number of time you have to go back and change parts. (You might not even have to go back and change parts at all).
If you need to upgrade and/or still looking for parts, skip to the respective section for the part, you will profit as well from reading this guide.
“The most important part is to HAVE FUN!” -Waffler11
Before we start, there are some things that you have to be clear about:
1. This guide will not Build the PC for you. This is a guide for you to know what to look for and which parts are most suitable for your build.
2. Read every single thing you don’t know about each part’s specs, obviously you don’t have to go crazy with all things. I will be mentioning things that YOU NEED to look for, but the more curious you are the better.
3. This will help you easily determine most incompatibilities and help you build everything part by part so you don’t have to go back to a specific part and change it over and over.
1. Google for your preferred web page for building PCs. I don’t want to seem like promoting a Webpage in particular, but PcPartPicker worked great for me and they give you warnings regarding incompatibility. (Other websites might do the same).
2. Ask yourself: “For what am I building this PC”. To run a game in particular? perhaps to have the best of the best? who knows? Only you. It is based on this that you will build your PC and estimate a budget (notice how I said estimate a budget, because it will vary as you learn more about PC parts).
3. Once you know what you want your PC for, you will have to preplan. This is having an idea of what GPU you need to run certain games and is the most notorious part of a PC, so think of one, but might not be the definitive GPU (you might even want to change GPU brands).
4. What if you want to choose the Monitor first? No problem at all, you can also choose your desired GPU based on the Resolution and Refresh Rates you wish to play. In this case, if you want to know which monitor will be the best for you, scroll down to the “Monitor” part of the Guide. (Keep in mind that prioritizing the Monitor means you have to try to keep the GPU that can run at the desired Resolution and Refresh Rates while also keeping in mind any bottleneck from both GPU and CPU)
Notice: Some RGB counterparts will be more expensive, so if you want a lot of RGB on your PC, you know what to expect on that budget. More on this as the guide goes on.
First Part: CPU
Forget about that beautiful case you saw somewhere or those cool-shaped RAMs or the flashy Motherboard, CHOOSE A CPU FIRST.
How To Choose A CPU For Your Needs
1. First of all, know your options, Intel and AMD are both very good, check out those 2.
2. Please take your time to read about the CPU specs. Things to look for are Cores, Threads, Base Clock, Boost Clock, and their general performance in your trusted benchmark webpage. All these specs differ from Generation and Model.
3. You don’t have to worry between AMD, Intel, and Nvidia CPUs and GPUs not working properly together or being incompatible, they will work smoothly in any combination.
4. Consider the future Single, Dual, and Quad channels. This is for the RAM, I suggest you read about these now and choose a CPU that supports these Channels. Having more than Single channel will increase Ram’s bandwidth, leading to increased Memory Read, Write, Copy, and Brandwidth.
5. Stock coolers usually come with a stick thermal paste already applied as well as some coolers from other brands that you but some may not have the paste applied, so it’s good that you read if they will have it already applied or not.
6. Thermal Paste: Keep in mind that eventually, you will need to reapply paste if you move the cooler if you notice an unusual increase in your temps, or after a few years. In this case, you can get a good Thermal Paste, they are relatively cheap, make a big impact on your CPU temperatures, and are easy to apply. So there is no harm in getting a Thermal Paste, just make sure you get a quality thermal paste. And yes, some reduce temperatures better than others but also the way you apply it and the amount you apply helps reduce temperatures, look for the best way and quantity.
Notice: You don’t necessarily have to prioritize the GPU over the CPU, this is just in case you plan on only playing less demanding popular games like CS: GO, LoL, Valorant, etc. they don’t require the best GPUs out there so you can go for a better CPU.
Second Part: Case
Cases come in many sizes, the 3 most popular ones are Full Tower, Mid Tower, and Mini-ITX. Check out each of these cases’ sizes and spacing. Some cases of the same size category will vary in size, and sometimes not fit the motherboard of the specific size category. For Ex: An ATX case might be smaller than most ATX cases and an ATX motherboard might not fit properly, so also checking the cases’ dimensions where the motherboard will be placed, is important to be aware of these scenarios.
1. Keep in mind the size of your GPU (since it takes a lot of space) to make sure it fits your case. New Gen GPUs are being manufactured in a bigger size.
2. It’s time to choose the manufacturer, they will mostly vary in Aesthetics however keep in mind, you should probably want to make sure the case has good “Airflow”, the name itself tells you what it is, but look it up if you are not sure. The best way to make sure the case has good airflow is to check reviews… multiple reviews, and good ones where they will specify what room temp they had during the test so you get an idea.
3. Make sure you get a modern case, you won’t regret it but you might want a modern case so you can use all of the motherboard’s ports and not waste a single penny also when upgrading the motherboard, since you are more likely to change the motherboard before the case (this is another reason why the case is the second part).
4. Check what’s in the box for the case you want to choose, it might not come in with enough fans than you expected, or maybe it won’t come with some of the things you see in some pictures.
Third Part: GPU
You probably did not expect this but, there is nothing complicated about GPUs.
1. Look for features about each GPU brand and model, there are brands and models with their features which is why I can’t list them to you, depends on what brand you choose.
2. You have already chosen a Brand because you knew which one would run the game you want to play, or maybe you changed brands and models. Either way, now it’s time for you to look at the specifications: Base Clock, Boost Clock & Memory Size. (I want you to look at this because they vary depending on Brand, Model, and Series and they give you an idea of which you would rather choose)
3. Now you have most likely already decided on your Brand, Model, and Series for the GPU, check out the Display Connectors and keep that in mind, we will need this for the monitor.
Notice: The more Memory Capacity the GPU has does not mean better performance.
Fourth Part: Motherboard
Ah yes, the motherboard, remember the CPU you chose? and the case you chose? here is where you will be limited to your motherboard choice. (choosing the right motherboard might take a while, especially with all the features one motherboard can have and all the different variations). Also, you might come across SLI (for Nvidia) and/or CrossFire (for Radeon). Before you get hyped, games need to be SLI/CrossFire compatible and not to mention that sometimes it will not work with different GPUs Architecture. So instead of spending money for this feature in a motherboard and 1 extra GPU, your best choice is for a single high-end GPU. (Also with the amount of power and performance on the new-gen GPUs, SLI and CrossFire are less worthy.
*IMPORTANT: Please read motherboard specs and features, literally anything you don’t know, look up what it is, this is critical for building a PC. Looking for everything will also let you easily identify incompatibilities. Some motherboards do not include Sound cards and/or Wi-Fi cards.
1. First, and I mean it, first you must make sure that your motherboard fits the case, motherboards commonly come in mini ITX and ATX, look those up in google and make sure which size is the one for your case (obviously you will realize a mini ITX motherboard can be used on a mid-tower or bigger).
2. Now you will choose a motherboard with the right Socket depending on the CPU you chose.
3. Now make sure that the motherboard’s BIOS is up to date with the CPU you chose, or you will get a firetruck up yours. Pro Tip: google “Best motherboards for [CPU of your choosing]”.
4. Another important thing to consider for a motherboard, is if it supports Dual Channel & Quad Channel.
5. Great, with all those 4 filters, you can freely look for a nice-looking Motherboard for your PC build and read the specs, yes please read them you won’t regret it. Especially since I almost bought a motherboard dedicated to custom water cooling, I was about to pay extra for nothing.
6. Some other important things to look for in a motherboard are the amount of VRM and its quality. The amount of Memory Type and also how much Memory Speed is supported, the storage drive slots available. Another lesser thing to look for in a motherboard is that each motherboard brand offers its unique features, check them out if you feel like it and see which one you like the most.
Notice: Wi-Fi Cards are not mandatory, they are more of an option.
Fifth Part: RAM
There is more to look for in RAM than you might think, don’t just look for RAM based on the amount of GBs it has. RAM comes in different Memory Types and has different Memory Speeds and CAS Latency, check out what role both of these terms play in a PC to choose your preferred one.
1. You can buy individual RAM usually comes in pairs, properly named “RAM Kit“, for which some are 8GB (2×4) or 16GB (2×8) or 32GB (4×8), 32GB (2×16), etc. If you still haven’t figured it out, let me explain: Ex. we have 16GB (2×8). The “16GB” is the total memory capacity, this total memory capacity is divided into 2 different RAM sticks, each one with 8GB capacity. (Think carefully about which kit you choose, since your Motherboard has limited RAM slots).
2. Which RAM to choose? one that does not exceeds the Motherboard’s max Memory Capacity and that is the right Memory Type for your motherboard while also making sure the RAM can run with the CPU. Another pro-tip: google “best ram for [CPU of your choosing]”.
3. Remember about Single, Dual, and Quad Channel. Be sure to check if both the motherboard and CPU are compatible with Dual Channel and/or Quad Channel.
4. Once you have chosen a RAM brand, and want to increase your RAM Memory Capacity, you have bought the same brand of RAM and RAM Model.
5. You can freely choose the RAM’s Aesthetics you like the most (also, RAM can be more expensive just because they have RGB). There is a catch though, look up if any Brand’s RAM model has any known issue with certain motherboards or CPUs. Since looks might be deceiving.
Sixth Part: Storage
Probably the simplest part, SSD is a lot more faster and expensive than the HDD, so much faster that if you have an SSD and you don’t install windows on the SSD you must enjoy looking at your OS booting up.
1. SSD is faster for gaming, yes, game loading times are not mainly determined by GPU, it’s by storage drives. But SSD gets expensive as you get more Storage capacity, so you can have SSDs and HDDs both in the same motherboard if your motherboard has the designated storage slots for the drives.
2. Look for these terms: Form Factors for Storage Drives, SSD, HDD, Write/Read speed, and Random write/read IOPS.
3. Check special features for each storage drive from each brand.
Seventh Part: Cooler
This will be long because of all the different things to cover.
First of all, Search what OverClocking a CPU is. You don’t need to know how to OverClock yet, as it also depends on which CPU you chose, but if you are interested in OverClock, I recommend you learn how CPU Clocks and Voltages work together, then you learn how to OverClock.
Answer these questions:
|Does your CPU comes with a stock cooler?|
|Do you plan on OverClocking your CPU?||You must buy a Cooler|
|Highly recommended to buy a Cooler||You don’t need to buy a Cooler|
(If you are reading from mobile, there is a table that won’t properly show. The table determines whether you should buy or not a cooler based on your plans)
*If you don’t want/need to buy a cooler you can skip to the next part*
There are Air Coolers and Water Coolers (AIO). AIOs are water coolers already built that will only require screwing to mount and do not take up much space, perfect for RGB builds. However, as might not fit your Case and some Air Coolers are not compatible with your motherboard.
1. First choose if you are going with Air Cooling or AIO, both are good ways to cool the hottest of CPUs, so don’t think Water is worthless or Air is worthless.
2. Check out which cooler you like the most and consider these: How much they can cool the CPU during load and idle times while considering how much noise (dBA) they produce the harder they have to work to cool the CPU. (The amount of noise is a personal preference if you want a quieter place or don’t mind the little noise)
3. After choosing one, make sure it fits your case and/or it is compatible with your motherboard. The best way to check this is by looking for Reviews, and Youtube videos for the specific case and cooler, or asking on Reddit, or the Cooler’s webpage might provide that information. (Yes, if you know the measurements of the case and the Coolers it should fit, but there could be some exceptions or a little piece from the inside which will block the cooler, the best bet is the 3 previous suggestions).
Notice: I do not talk about custom water cooling, there is no specific way to install it so you would have to carefully measure and get the individual parts. Also installing such a cooler is a lot harder very expensive and you would have to enjoy working hard to give it maintenance. I would suggest you stick with traditional coolers.
Eighth Part: Power Supply Unit
Hopefully, the webpage you chose to build your PC can estimate your fully built PC’s Watts consumption, from this estimate you will choose a proper PSU. Before we go on, forget anything you read about PSUs, this part has a lot of mixed “opinions”. Once you read more and more about PSU you can have your own opinion about PSUs.
1. Look what are the differences between a Fully Modular, Semi Modular, and Non-Modular PSU. (Fully Modular becomes more expensive, but opens up for more compatibility and any future parts upgrade, this is a very important thing to consider, however, you might not need a Fully nor Semi Modular PSU).
2. It is important to check the PSUs Certification. Any Certified PSU is a safe choice, you might want to read why PSUs are certified and what each type of certification means.
3. Now like any other part, PSUs also come in with different features depending on the brand and their different models. Also, keep in mind the most important things to look for in a PSU are the amount of output pin slots and the size of the PSU that will fit your case.
You sure have one in mind, but listen carefully, read about every term in a monitor, and know what those 1ms Response Time and 144hz Refresh Rate you often see on the specifications mean.
1. Be mindful when choosing a Monitor Size, a 27″ 1080p monitor looks like it has less Resolution than a 24″ 1080p monitor, and this is because of the PPI. Look up what that is and then you can have an idea of what would be the ideal Monitor Size and Resolution.
2. There are 3 different panels for monitors: IPS, VA, & TN. Each of these panels offers different functionality. It is something important to take into consideration.
3. Now, if your GPU has an HDMI 2.0, to fully take advantage of your GPU, get a Monitor with an HDMI 2.0, maybe your GPU has DisplayPort 1.4, which offers more bandwidth than HDMI 2.0, then you would want to consider buying a monitor with DisplayPort 1.4. Look all about the different Video Connectivity Protocols. Keep in mind that you don’t need to have the same protocol on both ends, for Ex.: You can connect the DisplayPort cable, from the 1.4 on your GPU to the 1.2 into your Monitor, and work fine.
4. Again, each Brand and its models have different features and designs, look around which one you like the most.
That is all about the crucial parts of a PC, you can then add another GPU, or another case fan, or a toy, even a toy, like an anime figurine or whatever, which seems to be trendy now a day.
Hopefully, you found this useful in any way possible, and I would be very proud to know you read everything just to build your PC, your “Baby” if you will.
I’ll leave these useful web pages that I think you should know about while building a PC.
CPU-world.com – Use this to check out all information about a certain CPU. (Don’t let the weird names and numbers scare you)
Pangoly.com – A website to Build your PCs and is also very good when you want to compare different part options.
You can also use YouTube and Reddit for reviews and/or specific questions, comparisons, and statistics.
Please consider leaving any kind of feedback, if there is something that should be reviewed/changed in this guide, do let me know so I can work on it to ensure this guide is as flawless as possible. Other than that comment anything you did like, as always following this subreddit’s rules, I will be more than happy to read all comments/questions. I would also appreciate anyone else answering other users’ questions as you would be helping me out while I am busy on something else.